Education Grants - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Education Grants

Education grants support schools and community-based organizations that help Oakland’s children develop literacy and social emotional skills.

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Education grants are by invitation only.

Our Education grantmaking is focused on solutions that ensure Oakland children are ready for kindergarten and on track for third grade reading success. Funding supports:

  • Educators and families to effectively scaffold literacy development
  • Organizations to increase the alignment and impact of collaborative initiatives
  • Children to develop fluent language and literacy skills

We occasionally also support timely opportunities that complement our Education grantmaking strategies and support conditions for literacy. Although grant applications are invitation-only, read how you can submit timely project inquiries to our Education Program Staff in the Eligibility section below.

A woman teaching two young girls how to write.
An Aspire Triumph Technology Academy teacher supports student during classwork time. Photo credit: Aspire Public Schools / Filmtwist Productions

Education Grantmaking Approach

Grantmaking Rooted In Research

The Rainin Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that help children progress in literacy development through positive relationships. We know from extensive research that there are specific skills children need to be successful in kindergarten, including:

  • Oral Language
  • Vocabulary and Meaning
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Book and Print Concepts
  • Alphabet Knowledge
  • Motivation, persistence, confidence and curiosity

And by third grade, children are successful when they progress towards the specific reading skills identified by the National Reading Panel:

  • Comprehension of grade-level texts
  • Fluent decoding
  • Comprehension of oral language



Education grants are by invitation only. If you think your organization’s work might be a fit, please email Education Program Staff. We value hearing from potential partners who share our dream of every child reaching their language and literacy potential.

Eligibility considerations:

  • Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations or to 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors
  • All fiscal sponsorships require a written agreement
  • Organizations must provide services for Oakland children. While an organization can operate and provide services outside of Oakland, our funding can only go towards its Oakland-based programming
  • We prioritize education partners who are committed to measurable results using evidence-based “active ingredients.”

The Foundation does not fund:

  • Initiatives or programs designed for ages 9+
  • Direct assistance to individuals or individual sponsorship
  • Capital campaign requests
  • Sports, athletic events or league sponsorship
  • Advertising or promotional sponsorship
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Organizations that discriminate based on religion, race, sexual orientation or gender

Application Process

  • Education grant applications are available by invitation only.
  • We do not have an LOI process. We welcome inquiries or requests for exploratory conversations by email to our Education Program Staff.
  • We typically extend invitations for spring (early May) and winter (early November) grant cycles. Winter invitations are subject to funding availability.


Education News & Stories

Four people seated and two others standing around a table, all smiling at the camera.
Foundation Awards Over $626,000 in Education Grants

01/23/2024 | Education

2023 end-of-year Education grants support Oakland’s early learning ecosystem.

smiling adult leans over a long table filled with books to help a child. In the background young children stand with tote bags.
Aligning Oakland’s Literacy Ecosystem

11/16/2023 | Education

The Oakland Literacy Coalition reflects on their newly refreshed three-year strategy in this guest blog.

a group of 16 people, many holding paper certificates and smiling under an arc of balloons
Families Need Champions And Co-Conspirators

10/04/2023 | Education

Families in Action focuses on multiple levers for change—building community, individual coaching, education campaigns and their signature leadership institutes.